Turner scratched from Erie start … now what?
Jacob Turner was set to start for Double-A Erie on Saturday at Akron against Drew Pomeranz in a matchup of two of baseball’s top pitching prospects. It was going to be a scout’s delight, especially if that scout happened to be with the Rockies, whose ace Ubaldo Jimenez has drawn interest from Detroit and Cleveland.
Sounds like quite a showcase, except that Turner won’t be starting for Erie on Saturday, according to a source. Drew Smyly, the highly-regarded Tigers draft pick from last year who had been promoted to start for Erie on Sunday, will start on Saturday instead. It would’ve been his day to pitch on normal rest if he had stayed at Class A Lakeland anyway.
As for Turner, his whereabouts are unknown. He isn’t in Akron with the SeaWolves, having left the team Friday, and Tigers officials weren’t answering questions about his status Friday night. SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported early Saturday morning that the Tigers are calling up Turner. But Duane Below, the Tigers’ scheduled starter for Saturday, was spotted in the Tigers clubhouse after Friday’s game, and he wasn’t seen packing his bags.
That leaves three possibilities:
- Turner could be on the verge of being traded. A report from Foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal stated the Tigers are now willing to deal Jacob Turner in a package for Jimenez. But a report later Friday from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com suggested the Tigers were out of the running for Jimenez for now. Unless the Tigers get a top pitching target for longer than a two-month rental, it’s unlikely they would trade Turner, who’s expected to compete for a rotation spot next spring.
- Turner could indeed be on the verge of joining the Tigers. Detroit just happened to move him up in Erie’s rotation over the All-Star break so that his start conveniently fell on the same day as the Tigers’ fifth spot currently held by Below. Tigers officials still said at the time that he wasn’t a consideration, but sources suggested there was some serious thought on the matter. At the very least, he became an insurance option. He has better stuff than most pitchers available on the trade market, and the Tigers ended Friday with seemingly no clear path on their trade pursuits.
- Turner is away from the team for other reasons. As crazy as that sounds, it’s conceivable if a family issue popped up or he had other personal reasons.